Sun | Oct 22, 2017

No Christmas like Jamrock's, says American rapper Safaree

Published:Sunday | December 25, 2016 | 12:00 AMCurtis Campbell
American rapper Safaree (right) and Bounty Killer at a party in Jamaica last year.

American rapper-actor Safaree will be spending his first Christmas in Jamaica in over 20 years. According to the rapper, who escaped the snow in New York to enjoy a more tropical experience, Christmas in Jamaica is like no other place on Earth.

The rapper, who rose from humble beginnings in Hanover to work with the likes of Nicki Minaj, K Michelle, and O.T. Genesis, shared with The Sunday Gleaner his vague memory of his last Christmas in Jamaica.

"The house we used to spend Christmas in was a wooden house and was up on a hill with barely any running water and a little fig Christmas tree with just chickens and goats all over the place ... real country. In Ponside, Hanover, I remember them having a big Christmas party, and it was like the whole parish was out there and they played music until the Sun came out," he said.

As for this year's Christmas, Safaree said that it is all about enjoying the Jamaican culture free of snow.

"At the time, I wasn't understanding how important the Jamaican culture was, so now that I am here as an adult to spend Christmas here, it's a big thing to me. Online, people are always saying Christmas in Jamaica is the best, and I am just looking forward to seeing it and enjoying it for myself," he said.

Though Hollywood paints Christmas in the US as a fun-filled season where children bask in the snow as they skate and make snowmen and angels, Safaree is quick to point out that the snow is no joke, therefore Jamaicans ought to value their blessings.

"I would spend my Christmas in New York as a boy shoveling snow if it was bad because my mother didn't care. Whether it was work or school, if there was snow outside, she made sure that we shovelled the driveway, because in New York, if somebody walks past your house and they slip and fall in your driveway, they can sue. Mommy was big on preventing that, so she was, like, 'As soon as di snow fall, unno guh outside and shovel dat.' It looks fun when you are a super-super-kid, but as you get a bit older, it's annoying except when you can go and shovel the neighbour's house and make an extra $10," he said.

As for the foreign-minded Jamaicans, Safaree says, enjoy your Christmas in paradise. The rapper shared that out of the many countries to which he has travelled, Jamaica is the most unique, even when compared to other Caribbean islands.

"Everything in Jamaica is an advantage. I don't care what nobody says, people in Jamaica are admired worldwide because Jamaicans know how to live carefree. It might not be literally carefree, but to us in the US, looking at Jamaica, we feel, like, damn man, they don't have the resources like some of us have, but they are just enjoying every bit of life. So that is why I'm always, like, I want to come here because I want that feeling. When I'm in America, there is a lot going on You don't feel like you are in paradise," he said.

 

JAMAICAN UPBRINGING

 

Safaree also revealed that his parents made sure to expose him to Jamaican food and beverages associated with Christmas. He noted that sorrel, curry goat, carrot juice, rum punch, among other Christmas goodies, were must-haves during the Christmas season.

"I have never had turkey on a Thanksgiving day in my life growing up, despite being raised in the US. I am so excited to be here. I'm just looking forward to being in a T-shirt in some good weather and seeing other people enjoy themselves so I can feed off that energy," he said.

The rapper, who made his Sumfest debut in 2016 along with iconic dancehall artiste Bounty Killer, was hoping to make a debut at Sting 2016 as his ultimate Christmas gift. However, that was not to be, as a result of its unfortunate cancelation.

"It's sad that there will be no Sting this year. I have been watching Sting since it had a big black banner with a bumble bee in the corner, so I am very saddened that it's not going be held this year," he said.

The rapper will be performing alongside Bounty Killer at Toxic City on Monday, December 26, at the Constant Spring Golf Club.

entertainment@gleanerjm.com